FKT: Ashly Winchester - Mount Perry (CA) - 2021-12-27

Route variation
up & down
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2h 43m 8s
GPS track(s)

Photos on Strava :)

This was supposed to be an easy recovery run, but it turned into a proper adventure!

When I arrived at Dante's view, the wind was fairly strong and it was pretty cold, but I put on my warm NWAlpine Hoody and leggings and felt pretty comfortable after a warm-up. I didn't expect conditions to deteriorate as much as they did.

On my way out, the wind started picking up, the sun was shining and I had fun playing in the wind, letting it push and pull at me. About a half-mile from the summit, the wind really picked up and the gusts started knocking me off my feet. There's a rocky, semi-exposed ridgeline along that section, and after sitting for a few minutes to analyze the risk and my willingness to take on that risk, I decided to continue on. I found that the only way to navigate across the ridge without being blown over was practically crawling. I tried to stick to the East side of the ridge as much as possible because it offered less wind, although I still got gusts from that side as well. As the ridgeline broadened again I was able to stay upright and jog the rest of the way to the summit.

I did not sign the summit register because it was so windy and cold, my hands were numb and the container appeared to be filled with loose papers... I wasn't willing to lose the summit register to the wind, but I did get a photo with it!

The wind got worse and the temperatures dipped on the way back. I could see the storm moving across Death Valley from the Panamint Range and it blotted out the sun. The wind seemed to whip around from every direction, and at times I was actually fighting to go downhill. The gusts I experienced up on that ridgeline rivaled some of the worst winds I've experienced on Mount Shasta. Having to constantly fight the wind is exhausting, and I hit a big wall with about 2 miles to go. I started getting very, very cold. My hands were no longer functional, my fingers were white, and I was tripping over what seemed like every rock on the trail. I just wanted to get back to the warmth of the car. As I crested the final climb and could see down to the parking lot, it started snowing. I arrived back at the bronze sculpture to find my phone had died. My hands were too numb to take a picture anyway. I got some strange looks from the few tourists who were out there braving the storm as I stumbled my way to the car. I immediately started eating every snack I could find and couldn't help but laugh at myself for choosing what was likely the worst day of the year to take on this route.

All that being said, this route is super fun! Lots of runnable, rolling ridgeling and some fun talus-y rock hopping. I always enjoy pushing my limits and this day certainly did that, unexpectedly. Who knew that I was going to get some of the best Aconcagua training in Death Valley!

I took 1 liter of Gnarly Nutrition Fuel2O, as well as some Honey Stinger stroopwaffels. I did not eat the latter because of numb hands. I was grateful for the liquid calories.